Town Heroes find strength in low numbers

Who ever said that numbers equate strength? The band may be small in terms of numbers with only two members, but Halifax rockers The Town Heroes are mighty in sound. Formed approximately two years ago by guitarist-vocalist Mike Ryan and drummer Bruce Gillis, the band has been making waves throughout the east coast with its 2010 debut effort Birds and Fear, a catchy alternative-indie rock n roll tour de force.

The Town Heroes will be performing Saturday evening at Moncton’s Plan B Lounge, located at 212 St. George Street. Show time is set for 9 p.m.

“I think that we were definitely influenced by the whole alt-rock scene in the late ’90s as well as by a lot of the east coast bands during that time,” Ryan begins. “I don’t think that we necessarily sound like any of them but I feel the influences definitely creep their way into our individual styles.”

The fact that there are only two members in the band does not pose any to concern Ryan who says that both he and Gillis have learned to read each other well when it comes to their live show.

“We have been playing together for so long now that we have developed all the same habits. We can know where each other is going and as the result of that, we work really well together. It’s definitely a challenge to try to sound like a full rock band with two people but it is quite a lot of fun too.”

Ryan goes on to say that with only he and Gillis on stage, it tends to leave little room for error where bands with a fully flushed out rhythm section might be able to hide a broken guitar string a little more easily.

“With only two of us in the band, it definitely affects our live sound. Rhythmically, we try to sync up the kick and snare drums with the strumming patter on the guitar and work to make everything sound as full as possible.

“If either of us messes up on stage though, it can get pretty bad so we have to make sure that we are on the top of our game. Fortunately, I have only broken three guitar strings in the last two years while on stage but when it does happen, it becomes instant drum solo time,” Ryan jokes.

Starting next week, the duo is slated to play scattered shows throughout the Maritimes as the region’s universities and colleges have student life breathed back into them. Also on tap for next month is the group’s first trip to Germany where it will be performing a showcase at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg.

“We are both pretty excited to be heading over to Europe as neither of us have been there before,” Ryan says. “At the same time, we are pretty nervous as neither of us have been on a plane more than twice in our lives. If the plane doesn’t crash on its way over, I think it should be one heck of a time.”

Article published in August 19, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript